U.S. Justice Department
covid fraud

Former University of Pittsburgh administrator charged with stealing thousands of facemasks

March 25, 2021
Christopher Casamento, who was Director of Emergency Management, allegedly sold the stolen masks online for more than $18,000.

A former University of Pittsburgh employee has been indicted by a federal grand jury after he allegedly stole thousands of masks and other personal protective equipment from the school in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep across the nation.

The U.S Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania says that Christopher D. Casamento, 42, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with interstate transportation of stolen property.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman says Casamento was working last year as Director of Emergency Management for the University of Pittsburgh and had access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator masks and surgical face masks, which were designated for the use of school employees and students.

The indictment alleges that from Feb. 28, 2020, to March 22, 2020, Casamento stole 13,615 pieces of PPE, namely, Aura N95 respirator masks, surgical face masks and particulate respirator masks.

Casamento is accused of selling the equipment on his eBay vendor page, and collected approximately $18,783.50 from the eBay sales.

"At the start of the pandemic, when supplies of PPE were low and nationwide demand was intense, Mr. Casamento used his position of trust and access to critical PPE to enrich himself at the expense of Pitt students and faculty," says Kaufman. "We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who illegally profit from Covid-related fraud."

FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman added: The allegations set forth today are upsetting. With so much widespread suffering in our communities due to Covid, having this vital equipment taken away from people is unfortunate."

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